Life doesn’t happen overnight, neither does policy
This entry is a response to an article I saw on the ”Friends of Syria” site, entitled Trump’s secret ME war? US military presence up 33 percent in four months. I have never been subjected to so many secrets or truths as those published on You tube and Word Press each day but guess they are concepts that hook the reader. This particular secret revealed America’s plan to station its troops in Syria and other parts of the middle east for the foreseeable future. My response only pertains to Syria and it’s an excuse to explore a bit of history too. When I refer to Britain it incorporates America.
I have no idea what President Trump feels about America’s foreign policy but I suspect he has a very definite vision for America’s future. Unlike most people around me I do not consider the United States to be the most powerful nation in the world, though it is the biggest bully, in that it uses more military hardware to make its point.
Some History: Britain, the Kurdish, Turkey and Russia
What happened in Syria has been planned for years, when the demonstrations occurred in 2012, Turkey allied itself with Britain and hoped to colonise Aleppo. It also allowed the Islamists to cross the border into Syria. Britain soon reneged on the arrangement as it drew in a far more amenable ally, the Kurds, never a power but known for their fighting capabilities. Britain had played a double game with Turkey throughout the last half of the 18th century, as the Ottoman empire was on the decline. Russia was involved with the break up of the Ottoman empire too but this time its position is rather different.
I can only suspect that the Turkish authorities wanted Aleppo but was convinced of this from the first day of fighting in 2012, as there is a big Turkish population there and it has been part of Turkey from time to time over the centuries. Anyway as it stands now the most Turkey can hope to gain is Idlib, which is on the west side of Syria facing Antioch, once part of Syria and of great religious significance during the crusades. Any other ambitions Turkey may have had were thwarted by the involvement of the Kurdish, who want the territory to the east of Aleppo.
British propaganda has, since the late 1980s, and possibly before, groomed us into feeling sorry for the Kurdish so that they might be afforded a homeland; to me a euphemism for another military base in the region. Britain had colonised the North of Iraq by the invasion of 2003, using the Kurdish as a tool and bringing about the emergence of the construct ‘Iraqi Kurdistan’. Lots of maps on the internet now conveniently bear out the legitimacy of the Kurdish claims. The Kurdish colonising of Iraq, which appeared to begin in 1990, probably began really at the start of the Iran/Iraq war, in 1981 or even earlier in the 1920s or the 1950s.
As a consequence, the Sunni population is defeated, including the oil barons in Mosul. The battles there, this year, had little to do with combatting the Islamists but has rendered Iraq almost obsolete. The history of Mesopotamia, Babalonia or the Fertile Crescent is hugely complex and involved the Persian empire before and after the advent of Islam. We can only hope Iran does not invade Iraq and that its influence remains in the hands of Shi’ah Islam, within Iraq.
The only real opposition to the Syrian government in 2012 was the FSA aka the Syrian Brotherhood, as unlike the west, the Arab world has two opposing ideologies, nationalism or Islamism. The Kurds who are a mix of Islamist and Muslim Nationalist proved a useful tool, allying themselves to the Americans in Mosul this year, in order to protect their perceived oil rights in Kirkuk, or in the hope of gaining Mosul as part of their promised land.
They may have been forced out of Kirkuk for the moment as this was not part of the deal but time will tell. When I refer to the deal I mean the one Britain made with the Iraqi Shi’ah or even the Iranians decades ago. As this blog is about Syria and the Levant I don’t really want to go down that road, as the said deal is unlikely to have involved Syria at the time.
The Turkish Kurdish seem intertwined with those of Syria and though they were justified in their fight for better living conditions in East Turkey, they now seem intent on overrunning North East Syria. Worryingly many of their number, like many of their Syrian counterparts, support the illegal Israeli state. The BBC now names Rojava on its maps, quite disturbing as that territory is fairly and squarely in Syria. Some of the British political left is aiding its government, the Conservatives, to gain ground there.
The Islamist invaders, though allied to the west, were never intended to run Syria, they’d have gone home after a while, lost their resolve etc. Britain intended to run it by stationing itself there, whether through American or Kurdish military bases. I wouldn’t be surprised if the intention was to call Russia into Syria, after all it did not appear to make gains in the Levant after the Hitler war, though the Bolsheviks were in charge then and spread their ideology to the emerging Muslim nationalist countries.
President Putin is rather more of a Czar than a Bolshevic and thus expansionist, though he is very canny and does his stuff slowly, not feet first like America. This is probably why Russia was such a successful oponent of Britain until the monopoly game brought it down in 1990, just to see it build up again really quickly. President Putin probably does like President al-Assad, who is not a Bolshevic like his father but loyal to Russia nevertheless.
Isabel Burton, wife of Richard Burton, a British army captain stationed in Syria remarked, during her time in there in the late 1800s, that the Syrian Armenians would ally to Russia as the Maronites allied to France but the Muslims would choose Britain. True at the time perhaps but the Bolshevic momentum hadn’t taken hold then. Time will tell how this plays out but Syria’s future is not in the hands of President Trump but in centuries of colonial struggle when America wasn’t even a player.
Safe to say President al-Assad will keep Damascus, Aleppo and many other territories that are duly Syria’s.